Seattle Sleep Apnea Dentist
Have you been told that you snore? Do you find yourself waking up in the morning feeling unrested or with a headache? Do you feel rundown all day and just want to take a nap? Have you lost your drive, ambition, and zest? Do you find yourself dozing off whenever you sit down? Are you depressed or moody?
If so, then your problem may be sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that affects millions of Americans, but 80-90% of them may not know they have it. Sleep apnea is more than a daily nuisance, it’s a potentially life-threatening condition that can lead to sudden death or serious accidents.
But you don’t have to live with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea treatment is very effective, and can be comfortable and convenient. A Seattle sleep apnea dentist can help you get an appropriate diagnosis of sleep apnea and help you understand your treatment options, including CPAP alternatives.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing stops during your sleep. For people with the health-threatening form of this condition, it can stop hundreds of times a night.
There are two forms of sleep apnea. In obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of the condition, breathing stops because tissue in your airway. When you fall asleep, your muscles relax and soft tissue such as your soft palate, your tongue, or your throat, collapses to prevent air from reaching your lungs. Your body must awaken to open the airway and resume breathing. This is the type a sleep apnea dentist can treat.
In the rarer form, central sleep apnea, your brain just stops telling your body to breathe, and you have to awaken slightly to restart the signals. This type of sleep apnea can only be treated with CPAP, although other alternatives are being developed.
Who Gets Sleep Apnea?
It’s possible for people of all ages, ethnicities, and genders to develop sleep apnea. However, you have an elevated risk of sleep apnea if you have any of the following characteristics:
- Are a snorer
- Are a man
- Are overweight or obese
- Have a large neck circumference
- Are over the age of 50
- Have been diagnosed with high blood pressure
- Are a smoker
- Have a narrow airway
- Have a family history of sleep apnea
If you have any of the characteristics listed above combined with the symptoms we mention at the top of the page, you should talk to your doctor or a sleep apnea dentist about the condition.
Dangers of Sleep Apnea
Every time breathing stops, you wake up slightly and your heart starts pumping harder. The wakings prevent your body and brain from reaching and staying in the rejuvenating deep sleep you need, and the acceleration of your heart puts extra strain on your cardiovascular system. This can lead to an increased risk for many problems, including:
- Heart attack
- Elevated blood pressure
- Diabetes (may not be a cause, may both be caused by obesity)
- Inability to lose weight
- Memory loss
- Loss of drive or focus
- Cognitive difficulties
- Traffic or workplace accidents
Fortunately, with treatment, many of these risks can be diminished or alleviated.
Why a Sleep Apnea Dentist?
A sleep apnea dentist is trained in the structure of the nose, mouth, and upper airway, and approaches the problem of sleep apnea with a more flexible perspective to treatment options. Although many sleep doctors will recommend only CPAP treatment, a sleep dentist will give you more options for your primary care, such as CPAP alternatives that may be more comfortable and convenient than CPAP.
To learn more about what makes a sleep apnea dentist a great choice for you, please contact us today for an appointment.